How to create a content taxonomy
Content marketing has become more popular than ever as businesses increasingly recognize its effectiveness in reaching and engaging audiences. However, there can be a lot more to content marketing than meets the eye.
Simply churning out high-quality content is not enough to stand out in today’s competitive landscape. If your audience can’t find the content they’re looking for on your website or can’t connect the dots between different pieces, all your hard work may end up in vain. How you display your content is just as important as the words on the page, which is where a well-organized content taxonomy comes in.
Simply put, a content taxonomy is how you categorize and organize your content to make it easier to find and understand. In this article, we will take a closer look at the concept of content taxonomy, explore its benefits, and guide you through the process of crafting your own. Continue reading to learn more.
What is content taxonomy?
Content taxonomy, also known as content management taxonomy, is a structured classification system used to organize files and content. It uses a hierarchical framework that makes connections between different types of content, making it easier for users to navigate and find information on a website.
Think of content taxonomy as a filing system for a large archive. Similar to how documents are sorted into different folders and subfolders based on their topics or relevance, a content taxonomy organizes digital content into well-defined categories and subcategories.
Let’s explore some of the key components of content taxonomy:
- Categories: Categories are the highest level of classification in content taxonomy. For example, in the context of a news website, you can expect to see categories such as “business,” “sports,” and “entertainment.”
- Subcategories: Subcategories are subdivisions within categories. They provide a more specific focus and help to further organize content.
- Tags: Tags are keywords or phrases assigned to individual pieces of content. They offer additional context and allow for content to be associated with multiple categories or topics.
- Metadata: Metadata provides additional information about each piece of content. This can include details like creation date, author, language, and more. It enhances searchability and allows users to filter and sort content to their liking.
Why is a content taxonomy important?
As we’ve mentioned, a content taxonomy plays a pivotal role in the overall success of your website. Not only does it make your content easier to find and understand for your target audience, but it also makes the job of updating and managing content much easier for you.
Here are some of the key benefits of developing a context taxonomy:
- Effective organization: Like document management, content on your website needs to be managed as well. Content taxonomies provide a structured framework for organizing website content, ensuring that information is logically categorized and easy to manage.
- Improved user experience: When your content is organized with a thoughtful taxonomy, users can find what they’re interested in with ease. This means they won't have to sift through unrelated pages, leading to a more enjoyable user experience.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): A clear content taxonomy improves your website’s SEO. Your content is more likely to appear at the top of results pages if search engines can easily understand its context and relevance.
- Consistency: Content management taxonomies offer a clear and predictable way to structure your website, minimizing confusion for both you and your users. Each piece of content has its place when labels and categories stay consistent.
- Scalability: With a content taxonomy in place, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you want to add a new piece of content to your website. You just need to follow the directions you’ve already laid out, streamlining your content workflow.
How do you create a content taxonomy?
With that said, how do you create a content taxonomy? More importantly, how do you create a context taxonomy that suits your website and content strategy? Follow along as we walk through the process of developing your own personalized content taxonomy step by step.
1. Understand your content and audience
To craft a comprehensive content taxonomy, you must take the time to understand your target audience first. What are their interests, needs, preferences, and pain points? This will lay the foundation for effective organization in the future.
After you’ve done some research, analyze your existing content to see if there are any recurring themes. If you don’t have content yet, come up with a list of keywords you think your audience would be interested in and group them by topic, intent, or product.
At this stage, nothing is set in stone. For now, the overarching themes you identify will serve as your categories, while any related themes will slot in under as subcategories. Here’s a preliminary context taxonomy example:
- North America
- South America
- Beauty Tips
2. Choose a taxonomy structure
Once you have a general idea of the categories and subcategories you want to include, it’s time to choose a taxonomy structure that best suits your website.
There are two main types of taxonomy structures:
- Hierarchical structure: Hierarchical structures create a clear parent-child relationship between categories and subcategories. In this structure, the broadest category is placed at the top, with subcategories branching below in a tree-like format. As you move down the structure, the subcategories narrow in scope, getting more and more specific. When there are straightforward relationships between your content topics, opting for a hierarchical structure is your best bet.
- Faceted structure: Compared to a hierarchical structure, a faceted structure is more dynamic and flexible. Rather than focusing on the linear, one-way relationships between your content topics, it sees your content from different angles, creating a more holistic view. This type of structure employs multiple attributes for categorization, using them as filters to narrow down and search for content. When your content can belong to multiple categories or be evaluated in multiple ways, a faceted structure is often recommended. For example, when you shop for clothes, you may want to filter your options based on size, color, material, brand, and more.
3. Create metadata
Creating metadata is an important practice that aids in the categorization and organization of your website’s content.
As mentioned above, metadata contains pertinent information about each individual piece of content on your website and puts it into context. It can include details like creation date, author, language, keywords, and much more. You can think of it like your content’s ID or business card.
When integrated into a content management system (CMS), metadata extends throughout your website. For example, you can assign the tag “yoga” to a blog post on yoga poses and have it fall under the broader category of “health & wellness,” making it easily accessible to users looking for self-care inspiration. Or, when a user types “yoga” into the search bar, they can conveniently locate the blog post as well.
4. Implement the taxonomy
Once you've defined your content taxonomy, you can deploy it on your website. However, your job’s not done yet.
To ensure a smooth transition, it's essential to conduct a comprehensive content audit for your website. This involves reviewing your existing content and making necessary adjustments to URLs and metadata to accurately reflect your newly established taxonomy.
5. Test and review the taxonomy
Your content taxonomy is up and running. What more do you need to do?
While your taxonomy may be clear and easy to understand for you, it may be confusing and hard to use for your audience. Conduct user testing to gather any feedback, positive or negative, so you can refine your taxonomy with the necessary adjustments to your categories, subcategories, and tags.
6. Maintenance and governance
Content taxonomies require continued maintenance and governance to ensure their effectiveness. You should always strive to update your categories, subcategories, and tags on a regular basis and keep a close eye on user engagement through tools and analytics.
Documentation and training is important as well. In addition to brand guidelines that define your company’s logo usage, color palette, and tone of voice, create a taxonomy guideline that establishes the consistent and effective use of your content taxonomy.
Wrapping up: Creating a content taxonomy
Establishing a well-organized context taxonomy has many benefits. Not only can it improve the user experience for your customers, but it can also make content management that much easier for you.
Bynder's digital asset management (DAM) platform offers a seamless solution for creating and maintaining your own content taxonomy. With robust features for categorization, tagging, and metadata management, organizing content with DAM and delivering a user-centric digital experience is easier than ever.
The Forrester Wave™ Digital Asset Management for Customer Experience, Q1 2022
Understand the benefits of DAM, how to select a DAM provider, which DAM is right for your business, and get an overview of Bynder and other DAM platforms.
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